Blogtour: The Best of Crimes by KC Maher

Walter, a child prodigy who now works on Wall Street, considers himself a father figure to Amanda, his daughter’s best friend and only child of a neglectful single mother. But when he loses his job after the 2008 financial crisis and his materialistic wife leaves him, taking their daughter, his relationship with Amanda enters a precarious new stage.

Walter struggles to give her the affection and guidance she needs, without succumbing to her budding sexuality. In the year before she enters high school, these two lonely souls will transform each other as Walter breaks out of his emotional shell, and Amanda blossoms into adolescence.

In a world that has always failed to protect its most vulnerable, The Best of Crimes is a new narrative and an unconventional love story that will challenge your perception of right and wrong.

This was an interesting book, because I felt incredibly guilty about enjoying it. The subject matter is a little taboo – think Lolita and you get the basic gist. I felt a little…I don’t know…”dirty” reading this I guess. Not in a Fifty Shades style, but in a way I haven’t really seen before in a novel (apart from Lolita, like I say).

I will not spoil the premise of the novel, but I found it very intriguing and wasn’t sure what I wanted to happen. Does Walter the main character succumb to his feelings or not? You’ll have to read to find out/

Personally I found this a little hard to get into, although that may have been my frame of mind at the time (I had a lot of changes going on in my life at this point) but once I got into it, I enjoyed it a lot. I will re-read this again in the future!

If you’re a fan of questionable morals and mysteries surrounding this, I would recommend this. If you’re easily offended and the idea of Lolita disgusts you, stay away. Unless you want to try a similar story.

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K.C. Maher’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals including Ascent, Black Warrior Review, Confrontation, Cottonwood, Gargoyle, and The View From Here. Her work has reached short-list status in various contests, including the Iowa School of Letters Award and Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The is her debut novel. She is mother to two children and lives in New York City with her husband

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The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin

Dear Carys, Zoe and Andrea
Come and join me for my fortieth birthday adventure weekend, full of mysteries and surprises the like of which you can’t imagine.

When Joanne’s friends reluctantly accept an invitation to her birthday party, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to this weekend than they are expecting.
One of them is hiding a secret.
And Joanne is planning to reveal it…

A weekend away in a cottage in the woods sounds like fun – until no one can hear your cries for help.

Four friends.
A party to die for.
Who will survive?

It has been a while since a book has caught me off guard quite as many times as this one did. This is full of twists and turns and the rug was pulled from under me so many times I struggled to keep track.

I didn’t particularly like any of the characters. They were all pretty bitchy and horrible to each other despite claiming they’re friends. However that seemed to add to my enjoyment of the book. The narrator Carys was quite an unreliable narrator, as you only really saw things from her perspective.

I enjoyed the fact that secrets were interspersed throughout. One minute you find out one thing about one of the characters and then everything is spun on its head again. The narrative itself is a little far fetched, but in all seriousness who needs a realistic storyline when a story is this exciting!

If you’re interested in a story that will constantly leave you on edge and trying to second guess what will happen, this is definitely for you!

Blog tour: Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello by Daisy James

When Isabella Jenkins is unceremoniously fired from her fancy London job, she escapes to Tuscany. A few weeks hiding amongst rolling hills and grape vines at Villa Limoncello sounds exactly like the distraction she needs.
But Italy holds emotional memories for Izzy and with a hapless handyman, a matchmaking village matriarch and a gorgeous – if infuriating – local chef named Luca Castelotti, her quiet Italian get away turns into an unending cacophony of chaos.
Suddenly Izzie finds herself on a mission to pull off the wedding of the century and maybe get her life in order in the process. If only Luca’s gorgeous smile wasn’t such a powerful distraction…

This is a great example of a perfect summer read. The main storyline is simple but has backbone and a real thread to keep you occupied, while the scene is set beautifully with uncomplicated language to really make you feel you are there with the characters. I’ve never been to Tuscany (where the story is based) but I now desperately want to visit as a result of the amazing descriptions making me long for the summer (at the time of writing this, it is 20 degrees outside and I am sat with the window open. I will be heading out as soon as I’ve typed this!).

I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I think the cover is so bright and colourful I felt I had to at least mention it. It reminds me a little of Mamma Mia. Except it’s based in a different country.

The characters are very charming and very vivid. They were the type of characters I wish were real due to their quirkiness. I found them relatable and really rooted for them. I also desperately want to try all the food which is mentioned throughout…time for ice-cream and limoncello I think…

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Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

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Book Blast: Deliver Me by Karen Cole

Please note, this is a report from 1st November 2018.

When Abby’s doctor tells her she’s two months pregnant she doesn’t believe him. She can’t be – she hasn’t had sex for over a year. But to her astonishment and dismay, multiple tests confirm it’s true.

Desperately searching for an explanation, Abby recalls New Year’s Day – the terrible hangover, the hole in her memory where the night before should have been and the inexplicable sense of unease – and realises that this baby must have been conceived at her best friend Danny’s NYE party.

Horrified that someone would have taken advantage of her intoxicated state, Abby enlists the help of Danny to find out which of the party guests assaulted her. But, when she starts to receive anonymous messages, it seems that while she has been looking into the father of her baby, someone has been watching her…

I watched Inside No 9 the other day on BBC Two. It was incredible and (no spoilers here) I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen next. I spent the majority of the episode turned away because I was so nervous about what was going to happen. You may be wondering why I decided to open my review with this sentence. This is because I feel like I can relate my feelings with this with Deliver Me, a tension filled, edgy, intriguing novel.

This is so completely different to anything I have read for a very long time. Despite this, it is eerily easy to imagine that this could actually happen in real life, which I find unsettling and exciting at the same time. There are so many occasions where I thought I knew what was going on and then the rug was pulled from under me. (This is similarly how I felt about Inside No 9, hence the comparison earlier on).

I have often found myself thinking of this novel when I’m in the middle of doing something completely mundane. This in my opinion is a sign of a truly great and terrifying story. This was hugely appropriate for Hallowe’en and now I feel like I want to watch more Inside No 9 to calm down. Yes, this is that terrifying.

Please, if you love psychological thrillers, add this to your list. You will not regret it!

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Blogtour: Suddenly Single by Carol Wyer

When bestselling romance author Chloe Piper’s marriage implodes a week before Christmas, she flees her cheating ex and the village gossips for the solitude of the newly built Sunny Meadow Farm and the company of her hapless dog, Ronnie.
But Chloe is soon pushed out of her comfort zone. Because with a lively development building crew – headed up by charming Alex – and a larger-than-life neighbour determined to make Chloe’s love life her pet project, Chloe finds herself in a whole new world of chaos…
This enthralling romantic comedy of self-discovery and new beginnings is perfect for fans of Kirsty Greenwood, Colleen Coleman and Marian Keyes.

I was pleasantly surprised by the mental health issues that were explored in this. I always love it when I expect one thing from a novel and get an added bonus of education and understanding which I didn’t have before. I thought this would be more of a romantic comedy (the title and description implies this certainly) but there was a little more depth to this than I first realised.

There were some moments in this book where I did have to hide laughter in the public. I loved all of the characters and found that I could imagine being friends with them in real life. I thought if I ever become a divorcee in the future and felt lonely, it would be great to have other people around me like the people in the Singles Club in this book.

This was just a lovely lighthearted book which allowed me to escape reality a little bit (yes, it’s realistic, but it was almost a rose-tinted glasses kind of reality). I would highly recommend this to anyone who is going through a tough time who needs a little cheering up, or someone who has spent lots of time reading darker materials looking for something to leave them with a nicer warmer feeling.

About the author

As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published and journalism in many magazines. Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

Blogtour: After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward

They tell me the country looked different back then.

They talk of open borders and flowing rivers.

They say the world was green.

But drought swept across the globe and the United States of the past disappeared under a burning sky. 

Enora Byrnes lives in the aftermath, a barren world where water has become the global currency. In a life dominated by duty to family and community, Enora is offered a role within an entity that controls everything from water credits to borders. But it becomes clear that not all is as it seems. From the wasted confines of her small town to the bowels of a hidden city, Enora will uncover buried secrets that hide an unthinkable reality. 

As truth reveals the brutal face of what she has become, she must ask herself: how far will she go to retain her humanity?

As much as this is a sort of fantasy novel, I found this weirdly realistic, in a similar way to Black Mirror. There is a really sinister underlay here which really gave me the shivers and made me think that if we’re not careful, this could be our future.

For a debut novel, this is very impressive. Although it starts off a little slow and did take me a while to get into, this really picked up pace and lead me down a horrible dystopian path that was but exciting and terrifying. It is full of suspense and I thought about it a lot even when I wasn’t reading it.

I loved that there was a strong female lead (there does seem to be a loack of those in fantasy – at least the ones I’ve read) and the ideas were refreshing and new.

This is the first part of a series, and I’m excited to see where this will head next.

Kristin Ward has loved writing since middle school but took thirty years to do something serious about it. The result is her Best Indie Book Award-winning novel, After the Green Withered, followed by the sequel, Burden of Truth. She lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, three sons, and many furry and feathered friends. A SciFi geek to the core, she is fuelled by dark chocolate and coffee and can be heard quoting eighties movies on a regular
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Blogtour: The House at Greenacres by Darcie Boleyn

When Holly Dryden fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past – and Rich Turner – behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble has led her back to the family vineyard and it’s time to tell Rich the truth – he’s a father.
Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly’s anger fades in the glow of Rich’s undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can’t change the past, the future is still theirs to write…
An uplifting, emotional romance set in Cornwall perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley

This is the second time I have taken part in a Darcie Boleyn blogtour, so I was so excited when this opportunity came about! My last review was for Love at the Northern Lights, which was a lovely feel-good wintery novel. You can find the review here if you’re interested: https://buttercupreview.wordpress.com/2018/09/28/blogtour-love-at-the-northern-lights-by-darcie-boleyn/

This book will probably be very similar to that review! The difference is you will need to change the wintery words to summery words!

This was a great book to read as the summer nights are starting to come around. I have mentioned before that I enjoy reading books that go along with the seasons and I believe that this is a great book to read during the spring. Love is at the very heart of the narrative and I found that it made me feel warm and happy along with the beautiful setting. I felt immersed and like I knew all the characters like friends. I was really rooting for them and really wanted to hear more (this is the first in a series, so if you feel similar to me then you’re in luck!). I also found the characters very well written and realistic which really helped with my imagination in terms of knowing what was happening in the plot.

Although there is a lot happening in the book, I found this a relaxing read and it really helped me to feel calm in what has been a ridiculous time in the UK. I’m glad that books like this exist to bring a much-needed bit of serenity in an otherwise awful world. I would prescribe this book to those who need a little love at the moment.

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Author Bio: Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

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